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About the OCRS

Established in 2016, the Online Centre for Religious Studies aims to promote and facilitate the academic study of religion for a wide and diverse audience.

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Study religion online

Our courses will take you from the basics of what a religion is (or isn't!), right through to a detailed exploration of the key faiths alive today.

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Free resources

Download free digital resources for personal use, or to assist in the classroom.

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Who Creates Religion?

28 March 2019 | Luke Burns

If we’re going to investigate religion, it’s important to ask questions about who defines the subject of our investigation, and what relationship they have to the people and practices being studied. The modern study of religion, beginning in the 19th Century, has been traditionally driven by male European scholars, who have carried their own cultural biases and assumptions - some unconscious, others less so. Until recently, there had been little awareness of these assumptions, and this had affected the ideas and methods used by academics; naturally we will have to negotiate some of these potential pitfalls if we want to build a more comprehensive and accurate picture of religion in the modern world.

Dharma in Hindu Traditions

9 March 2019 | Luke Burns

If you’ve studied Indian religious systems, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, you may have encountered the Sanskrit word ‘Dharma’ (or its Pali equivalent, Dhamma). In fact, even if you haven’t studied Indian religions, there’s a possibility you’ll have bumped into the term elsewhere (anyone remember the Dharma Initiative from TV show Lost?). The word dharma comes from the Sanskrit root dhṛ, meaning “to hold fast, to make secure” (Doniger, 2010, p.

Religion and Worldviews

24 February 2019 | Luke Burns

Published in September 2018, the final report of the Commission on Religious Education - entitled Religion and Worldviews: the way forward - aimed to lay out a range of new ideas about how Religious Education can be approached in UK schools, following consultation with teachers, religious practitioners, and the public. Religious Education in the UK is not the same as religious studies as taught in colleges and universities; the subject has a broader remit, contributing to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well as personal well-being and community cohesion (DCSF, 2010).